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EA investigating claims an employee sold rare FIFA Ultimate Team cards directly to players

EA is looking into what could turn out to be FIFA Ultimate Team's biggest scandal.

Overnight, the hashtag #EAGATE started trending on Twitter after a number of big FIFA content creators shared their reactions to an apparent Ultimate Team scandal where an EA employee sold FUT Icon cards to players for thousands of dollars.

FUT Icons are among the rarest, most sought after cards in FIFA Ultimate Team. Most of them can only be obtained in FUT's various packs (loot boxes), and most players never get them. You can up your chance by spending thousands of dollars on Ultimate Team's loot boxes, but there's no guarantee you'll get one. Some of those cards can be traded, but it's easy to see in-game whether the card had a previous owner.

An even rarer form of Icons are Prime Icon Moments, unique versions of Icon cards that commemorate certain moments in their player's history, such as wining a certain championship.

The messages, which we've not been able to confirm, appear to show an EA employee offering these rare cards for sale. The transactions, worth thousands of Euros, would allow the buyer to own these coveted cards directly without having to roll the dice on loot boxes. The kicker? Those cards don't seem to have had a previous owner, meaning someone has the power to bypass FUT Packs altogether.

That this sort of black market exists arounds FUT isn't surprising, but the fact that it's possible for an EA employee - or really, anyone - to be able to bypass the inherent randomness of FUT Packs is the bigger problem.

Needless to say, the implications of this could be severe for EA and FUT's image. The publisher has since issued a statement saying that it has opened an investigation into these allegations.

"We are aware of the allegations currently circulating within our community related to FIFA 21 Ultimate Team items. A thorough investigation is underway, and if we identify improper conduct, we will take swift action," EA said in a Twitter statement.

"We want to be clear - this type of behaviour is unacceptable, and we in no way condone what is alleged to have happened here. We understand how this creates concern about unfair balance in the game and competition. We will update the community as we get more clarity on the situation."

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